Sadly, some plaintiffs respond to their symptoms too late, to the point where pursuing litigation is no longer possible.
It's called the Statute of Limitations, and often reflects a two-year window during which it's possible to file a Reglan and tardive dyskinesia lawsuit following the emergence of symptoms.
Miss the deadline, and you could be dead in the water, legally.
That's what happened to Gladys Pounds, according to the December 2 issue of Health Law Week. The woman was prescribed Reglan by her physician in 2001 for the treatment of gastroesophageal reflux disease—commonly referred to as GERD, and a common condition for which Reglan is often prescribed.
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has since issued a position that Reglan should not be used beyond 12 weeks, due to an increased risk of developing Reglan tardive dyskinesia.
Pounds, however, used Reglan daily for about three years, before experiencing a mouth tremor and gait disturbance starting in August 2004.
A neurologist diagnosed Pounds as having Parkinson's.
Just under a year later, in May 2007, a different doctor diagnosed Pounds with irreversible tardive dyskinesia.
The plaintiff sued her original prescribing doctor for negligence based on his decision to prescribe Reglan for Pounds' GERD acid reflux condition—a decision that was alleged to have fostered Reglan tardive dyskinesia.
When the lawsuit was launched in August 2007, the defendant moved for summary judgment. While the trial court denied the original motion, an appellate court noted that symptoms of Reglan tardive dyskinesia were probably present as early as summer 2004 and most recently by February 2005.
Given the timing of the lawsuit, which was filed 30 months later, the appellate court found that the action was time-barred by the Statute of Limitations (generally, two years). Even giving the plaintiff the benefit of the doubt and construing evidence in her favor, the appellate court decreed that too much time had passed between the emergence of the most recent symptoms and the filing of a claim two-and-a-half years later.
Every medication is accompanied by side effects. Reglan is no exception. Metoclopramide has been linked with many different adverse reactions, including Reglan side effects in infants. Breastfeeding mothers have been cautioned against Reglan, for example.
However, GERD is a common affliction amongst Americans that can become a chronic condition, for which regular use of Reglan can provide relief. But given the FDA's position that continued use of Reglan longer then 12 weeks increases the risk of Reglan tardive dyskinesia, the issue puts the patient and doctor in a difficult situation. A patient would be understandably reluctant to give up a medication that was proving effective.
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Reglan has been linked to Neuroleptic Malignant Syndrome, or NMS—a serious neurological condition. As for tardive dyskinesia, sometimes it has retreated when the medication is stopped. But not always. Having emerged, there is no known cure for Reglan tardive dyskinesia.
Reglan has been identified by LawyersandSettlements.com as a top legal issue to watch in 2012. Prospective plaintiffs, on the other hand, need to heed the calendar. Patients, whose lives have been adversely affected in this manner, would be wise to become conversant with the Statute of Limitations and approach a Reglan attorney over a potential Reglan lawsuit, in a timely fashion. As the foregoing shows, time is of the essence.